Friday, April 15, 2005

Movie Review: Sahara

If you've seen the trailers for Sahara you've probably already thought to yourself "Oh great, another mindless Hollywood Action/Adventure movie!". For the most part you'd be right. There isn't much in Sahara that hasn't been seen or done before in countless other movies throughout the years. But does that mean it's a bad film? Far from it.

While it never come close to breaking the action/adventure mold, it manages to all at once be predictable but still fun an lively.

Without a doubt, the casting is one of this movies greatest strengths. The interactions between each of the characters manages to feel natural, even when in totally unbelievable situations. While everyone in the cast plays their parts perfectly, a special mention has to be made for Steve Zahn as 'Al Giordino'. While Zahn doesn't fit with the books description of 'Al', it's impossible to imagine anyone else in the part. With his perfect timing and delivery that never seems forced, his wise cracks always seem to feel right. Not that Cruz or McConaughey do not play their parts to perfection, but without doubt, Zahn is the one to watch.

As for the overall story, as I've already said there aren't too many surprises. Right down to the automated voice in the factory, it's all been done before. Which leads me to ask two questions;
  1. Why do all 'evil' factories require constant audio announcements as to what is going on?
  2. Why do they all have the same English female voice making the announcements especially when run by a Frenchman in a predominantly French speaking country?
As with most of these types of movies, especially when adapted from a book, there are jumps in logic that are never quite explained. It's much easier to explain something when you can take 20 pages for back story. Sahara does a good job in these situations however, by having 'Al' often voice the same questions the audience is thinking. It's that type of touch that helps make this a great example of the genre.

While Sahara isn't a ground breaking movie, it is a very good one that is easy to watch. With just the right balance of comedy and action to make everyone happy. And since the same characters do appear in several Clive Cussler novels, don't be surprised if they decide to make a sequel.

3.5 out of 5


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